irb.com and James Mortimer 07.Oct.2013Getty Images
Powell will take charge of the team for the first time at the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia next weekend where South Africa will face England, France and Spain in Pool B.
His former teammate Vuyo Zangqa will be his assistant coach.
The appointments were confirmed at a meeting of the Executive Council in Johannesburg, which ratified the recommendation of the technical committee.
"Following his retirement as an active player in 2012, we took Neil into our structures with a view to developing him as a coach of the future," said Jurie Roux, SARU Chief Executive.
"It has been a thorough process in his appointment and he will continue the successful partnership he has had with Vuyo in recent times.
"Neil was a vastly experienced player and is very familiar with the HSBC Sevens World Series. They make their debut in Australia next week and we’re looking forward to their contribution to the growth of our Sevens programme."
Powell and Zangqa were part of the Springbok Sevens squad that won the HSBC Sevens World Series in the 2008/09 season.The 35-year old Powell played for South Africa in 32 tournaments on the HSBC Sevens World Series and won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in 2010. Zangqa played in 19 tournaments on the World Series.
The Council also confirmed the appointment of another former national player Renfred Dazel, as the Springbok Women’s Sevens coach, replacing Denver Wannies. Dazel played in 32 tournaments in the HSBC Sevens World Series and was part of the 2008/09 Series winning team.